At this point, it’s difficult for me to imagine a world without COVID. A year can really change a lot, for better or for worse. Now, every time I’m watching TV or a movie and see a scene with a room full of people, I experience a split second of panic, asking “where’s their mask?”. Such a new and bizarre thing a year ago has now become a normal part of our lives, just like so many others. However, I know I’m not the only one who constantly has the golden question in the back of my mind: ‘when will this be over?’
Of course, asking this question is futile. No one really knows. While in some situations I’ve found the question to bring hope and motivation (when I see cases decreasing or new breakthroughs with the vaccine), more often I feel as though it fills me with frustration, as though I’m wasting valuable years of my life doing nothing. While it may be true that we’ve lost many of the things we once enjoyed, thinking this way is ultimately detrimental to our wellbeing. The truth is, we have no control over Covid or the way the world responds to it. All we can do is hope for the best and do our part. And that’s a tough pill to swallow. For many people (myself included), the lack of control has been the most difficult thing about the past year – we don’t know when we will be able to see family and friends, and we don’t even know how to plan for the next month of our lives. Things are constantly changing.
While this has been a remarkably tragic time, it has also been a reminder that we can only control ourselves and that we have to take life one day at a time. We may constantly be wishing this phase of life to be over with, but I think it’s important to take a step back and realize this isn’t just something we must “get through.” Life is still happening and there are still moments of happiness to be had; we just might have to work a little harder to find them. For me, this has meant taking things a little slower and making an active effort to focus my attention on one thing at a time. Maybe this means taking ten minutes to journal, or devoting my attention to one piece of work instead of multi tasking. I realize this can be incredibly difficult with all of the suffering currently going on in the world and constantly being reported back to us, but it is within our control to surround ourselves with boundaries about things such as social media and the news. You can find small pockets of joy in the simplest of things, whether it be making a cup of coffee in the morning or going for a walk in the snow, and in these trying times, it really is the little things that will keep us sane.